Wednesday 17 February 2021
The Controller of the PNG COVID-19 National Pandemic Response, David Manning, has urged the public in the National Capital District to go for a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) test if they have symptoms of the disease.
The common symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, fever, headache, difficulty breathing, sore throat, loss of taste or smell and muscle aches.
There are four urban clinics in the NCD that are currently doing swabbing for COVID-19 tests for those with symptoms of the virus. where the public can also get their test results within a short time for free.
These are Badili, Tokarara, Morata and Gordons clinics. These sites are part of the nine clinics that have been selected to participate in the Antigen (Ag) Rapid Diagnosis (RDT) validation in NCD.
Mr Manning said the public would be informed when the rest of the nine clinics can begin testing.
Other sites that are also providing routine swabbing for symptomatic clients are Pari clinic in Moresby South, and the Port Moresby General Hospital.
The general public are further encouraged to utilize any of these services to check for COVID-19 infections.
Mr Manning says that this Antigen test is easy and results will be given within 20 to 30 minutes.
“Further GeneXpert testing is then performed on positive samples to confirm if the patient has the coronavirus disease or not. The turnaround time is about an hour which is more convenient for isolation and contact tracing.”
He also confirmed that Rita Flynn was no longer swabbing but only tests the positive samples it receives from the urban sites to confirm, using GeneXpert.
“All negative samples from the Ag test are sent to CPHL for confirmation.”
When making this announcement, Mr Manning reiterated his call on the importance of going for COVID-19 test.
“By going for a test you will know your status which will help you get the help you need and stop you from spreading the virus to others, including your loved ones,’’ he said.
Mr Manning was happy to note that more people are now going for Coivid-19 tests unlike before, and applauded the health workers for providing counselling and good care to those patients undergoing swabbing and testing.
“COVID-19 is just another respiratory illness and people should not fear going to the appropriate health facilities for testing. Through testing they will get the care they need if they test positive.
“At the beginning of our response there was a lot of fear surrounding COVID-19 so we did not see many people coming for test.
“But we are seeing a change now as more people in the NCD are coming to the clinics to get tested for COVID-19 as they are more worried about their health and the health of their loved ones,’’ he said, adding ,” like all new diseases, COVID-19 will eventually be integrated into the public health system.”
Mr Manning has also reminded the public that, “As we do not have a cure for COVID-19 at this stage the best defence we have is prevention which is through the observation of the public health measures that are in place under the new normal or niupela pasin.”
Citizens are being urged to follow these simple but important health measures for COVID-19:
- Hand hygiene – wash your hands frequently at least for 20 seconds;
- Cough etiquette – cover your cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue and throw the tissue into a bin after you finish;
- Wear a facemask or face covering in public spaces;
- Avoid crowds or enclosed buildings; and
- Practice physical distancing of 1.5 to 2 metres when out in public such as hand hygiene, cough etiquette, physical distancing, avoiding crowded places and wearing masks.
In the meantime ,the antigen Rapid Diagnostic validation roll-out is being undertaken in NCD and other provinces, such as East New Britain; Western and Western Highlands, with the aim of ‘speeding up’ the turnaround time for test results.
Media contact: Chief Superintendent Dominic D. Kakas, BEM, DPS
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